A long straight road or promenade which evolved from the alleys in which the game of Pall Mall was played.
“The well known street at the west end of London, formerly Pell Mell; seemingly, pelle mele; q.e shell powder; shell dust; it having been in former days the court-place in which the then underogatory games of nine-pins, foot-ball, bowls, &c., were played; a requisite for which was a smooth even surface, to obtain which the dust or powder of shells was used, as the most suitable means of evens and freedom from joinings or any other inequalities. Pelle, shell; mele, meel, mael, meal powder, dust. Other etymologies have been suggested by others; but this I believe to be the true one. Formerly all the great continental towns had each its Pall Mall.”
– Popular Phrases: Terms and Nursery Volume 1 By John Bellenden Ker. 1840.
- Wikipedia entry on